BLACKSBURG — Season openers don't get much bigger than this.
Virginia Tech kicks off its 2013 football season Aug. 31 on ESPN against two-time defending national champion in Atlanta.
The prime-time clash jump-starts the Hokies' 12-game slate as announced Monday by the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Virginia Tech follows the Crimson Tide game with three more non-conference games: at home against Western Carolina (Sept. 7), at East Carolina (Sept. 14) and home against Marshall (Sept. 21).
The Hokies then jump into ACC play with eight consecutive league contests to close out the season. They face a short week to prepare for Georgia Tech in the conference opener, which will be played in Atlanta on Thursday, Sept. 26. Virginia Tech returns home Oct. 5 to meet North Carolina. ACC newcomer Pittsburgh goes to Blacksburg on Oct. 12 before the Hokies have the first of two open dates (Oct. 19 and Nov. 23).
After the open weekend, the Hokies play their third straight home game, against Duke on Oct. 26. Virginia Tech hits the road for a two-game stretch at Boston College on Nov. 2 and Miami on Nov. 9. The Hokies wrap up their home schedule Nov. 16 against Maryland, which is followed by the second off week.
Virginia Tech concludes its regular season with a visit to rival Virginia on Nov. 30 in the annual battle for the Commonwealth Cup.
“Opening up the season against defending national champion Alabama in Atlanta and finishing with rival Virginia at Charlottesville certainly make for an important beginning and end for our season,” Hokies coach Frank Beamer said. “The biggest negative is playing a Thursday night game at Georgia Tech just five days after facing Marshall. We will definitely want to spend some time during the preseason preparing for that game, particularly on defense.”
For the first time since the 2001 season, the Hokies won't have a Thursday night ESPN game at Lane Stadium.
The ACC championship game will be held Dec. 7 in Charlotte, N.C.